In Books, Trips and Events by Chris1 Comment


“The novel certainly came out of the optimism of the sixties and seventies, the feeling that the world might really be about to change, that anything was possible, that the old models of social, political, cultural life could be thrown out and utterly re-imagined; that there would be a series of concentric revolutions that would transform relations of class, sex, race. It was particularly intoxicating in Portugal, because there and in Spain, time had stopped in the late 1930s, and the revolution started the hands of the clock turning again. And of course because people had been mute for so long, when speech came back, it came back in the language of socialist revolution, in the slogans of the Civil War, in the speeches of la Passionara. And it was a revolution of young people; the leaders of the Armed Forces Movement were junior officers, men in their late twenties. And although it was the Army that brought the regime down, it was not a military coup; it was a revolutionary army, making a revolution. And there haven’t been many of them since the New Model Army. And of course it was very dramatic, very visual, very theatrical, very filmable – – the young soldiers who all looked like Che Guevara, the carnations in the gun-barrels, the vast parades and demonstrations. Very rapid change probably always is dramatic, but especially when it’s rapid change for the better. But all this is present only as an echo in the book; the optimism and the enthusiasm, all the songs and slogans, resonate against a present day of austerity and cuts and financial malpractice on a vast and crippling scale and a sense of powerlessness.”


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